Sunday, 30 September 2012

Walk through Dove Dale in Peak District

Hello Readers,
With September rolling on through our calendar we come to the end of the Colonel Sanders Facial Hair.  Even though he wasn't one of my favourites he did serve his purpose.  Thanks Colonel, now it's time to go and fry some chicken.

The Colonel Sanders standing for his mug shot.
A Carol Seppanen Book Update - I am about halfway through The Castle by Franz Kafka, 280 pages.  It is a strange read, full of confusing contradictions and disjointed sentence structure that still manages to flow into an intriguing storyline.  One of the confusing parts is that his characters switch from not believing a word they are told to immediately accepting everything they are told without question in the same discussion or argument.  There is also a theme of unquestionable heirarchial authority that dictates life in the village.  The Castle middlemen have absolute authority because of who they work for while the lower class obeys every order, to the point of even worrying if they have done enough to please the authorities.  (I am guessing Kafka had his own authority issues with feelings of self doubt and personal contradiction thrown in.)  Kafka also uses punctuation to extend sentences and bend them into different directions.  Here's a typical sentence example from the book from page 131.  "However, he couldn't quite understand why Hans's father, if the cause of the complaint had been made clear as Hans said, kept his mother from recovering in a different climate; it had to be said he was keeping her, because it was only for the children's and his own sakes that she did not leave, yet the children she could take with her, she needn't go away for long, nor did she go very far; just up on Castle Hill the air was already quite different."  Interesting read so far even if it is difficult to grasp at times and requires more concentration than my usual reading material.     
On Saturday we ventured to Dove Dale in the southern Peak District.  This is part of the White Peak District which is so named for its limestone based geology.  The weather is starting to change so I wanted to get one or two more walks in this fall if the weather holds.  We spent most of our nice summer days visiting landmarks or towns instead of checking out the Peak District, we've made a few forays into the Peak District but not many so I targeted a few places to see on our remaining walks.  One was the Stepping Stones and Dove Dale so after checking with the lying weathermen we decided Saturday would be the best day for a walk.  Saturday was forecast as mostly sunny with temperatures in mid 50's F (13-15 C) so we slept in, double checked the forecast and set out with a few Lucozades (like Gatorade), hiking boots, and jackets/sweatshirts.   
Our trusty navigator.  5 miles in 3.5 hours - we're in! 

On the back of the navigator is directions and a few facts.  This trip was a two out three triangle on gradient and level of difficulty.  Lori probably should have checked that before we left the house but once we're all in the car there's no turning back.

The day started out brisk (upper 40's) and overcast as you can see with Lori's hood.  The River Dove here is winding between Bunster Hill on the left and Thorpe Cloud on the right.

Looking at Bunster Hill, here comes the sun George Harrison.

The kids crossing the Derbyshire famous Stepping Stones. 

There were many small natural dams and waterfalls along the River Dove which I liked.

A scenic mini waterfall.

The kids sitting on the rocky outcrop of Lovers Leap.  We're getting into the Dale now.

River Dove in the middle of Dove Dale with another mini waterfall.

Wishing Stump?

Reynard's Cave.

Another river and dale shot.  So far so good on the walk since we are on a slightly uphill gradient and the sun is starting to come out.  This part of the walk reminded me of the U.P.

Kal posing on the pedestrian bridge.

Ilam Rock.

A stile in the wall.  This is one of the nicer ones, some of the smaller ones are about a foot wide which is not easy for my XL self to navigate.  There are also some where you have to climb up a few steps, squeeze through a narrow gap, then climb back down.  We get over them fine although it was a little depressing to see us lumber over one in particular like a bunch of drugged elephants then see a couple of 60-70ish year old ladies scramble over it like young bunnies.  I guess that means we don't do enough of the walks although I have to say older people here are much more active than older people at home.  Probably part of the culture as walking here is a given.  Many schoolchildren in Kalle's school will walk (the older ones sometimes by themselves) to school if they are within a mile of the school no matter the weather. 

The weatherman strikes!  Light rain starts hitting us and rain clouds are moving in fast.  It's about an hour and a half into the walk and we are now in the smaller Hall Dale.  Fortunately the rain stops shortly and only threatens us for the rest of the walk.

The scout team clamboring over a stile.  I thought the moss on the stone wall was neat.  This is Hurt's Wood now since we have left the fast moving River Dove.
Exiting the dale and entering the howling wind tunnel of the gorge.  Cold, cold wind cutting through us and not quite halfway through the walk.  Windbreakers would have been nice about now.  Oops.  We actually discussed bringing them but decided not to.  Storm clouds behind us.

And looking down the beautiful gorge we have clearish skies ahead.  But we are still getting whipped by the wind so we need to get out of the gorge.

Steve Frey pic - a relaxing cow.  Now we are out of the gorge and entering pastures.  Kalle summed it up for all of us by commenting that the pasture walks are not as much fun/scenic as the woods/hills walks.

Out of the wind tunnel we are nice and toasty now with temps feeling like mid 50's.  The village of Stanshope is in the distance. 

Combo Steve Frey and Jim Seppanen pic - trees, cows, rolling hills, stone walls, sunny skies... not the same sights as the dales but still beautifully English. 

I took the picture because I love the stone walls here.  How long does it take to build these walls?  Fitting the stones together must have been a tedious process for miles of walls.  

Sheep trough.  You can see the wind hasn't stopped yet.

What a difference light makes in photography.  The sun is blazing now which makes the green in the grass pop out at you.

Steve Frey pic - the lamb is staring me down while its brother/sister and mother chow down.

We're about two thirds of the way through the walk and come back to Bunster Hill (I think).  At first I thought we had to walk along one of the sheep trails on the hill.  Once we approached the stone wall we saw a gentler trail off to the right which was good as Lori's feet are making walking painful.  Five mile walks are not very popular with the troops by now.  

Thorpe Cloud on the right behind the farmhouse.  I misread the map here which ended up adding another ten minutes to our walk but also gave me this photo oppertunity.  Overall we did the walk in just over 3.5 hours which was on pace with the map since we walked a little over 5 miles thanks to my navigation.

Some adventurous climbers on the top of Thorpe Cloud.  Probably great views from there but quite the steep climb to summit it.
After our walk we went to eat at the George and Dragon pub in Ashbourne.  We passed the pub on the way to Dove Dale in the morning so we decided to go back since Lori wasn't with us when we visited Ashbourne (previous Ashbourne blog entry).  It was only a few minutes away and the food was good last time so we jumped into the Beemer and jaunted off to Ashbourne. 
Kevin Coleman pic - the mildly bitter John Smith's Extra Smooth.  Just what the doctor ordered after a five mile walk.  Actually the doctor ordered two so I drank them both.

Dana Johnson pic - the super sized Yorkshire Pudding Dana style, drowning in gravy.  Also in the bowl was beef, mash, gravy, carrots, peas, gravy, cauliflower, and more gravy.  Very good.

Dana Johnson pic - Lori tried the Cod which passed the test.  She even commented that this was one of the better pub grub places we have eaten at.

My buddies George and Dragon.
After lunch we walked around the Ashbourne market for a bit and then went home for a relaxing night of movie watching followed by video games for the kids.  Sunday's plan is doing boring household chores and running errands. 
Thanks for listening,

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